Neckthrough shaft wood ponderings

ARandall

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Well, I don't do many neckthough guitars....only 1 so far. But I have a blank which might just support a neckthrough V (especially at a 24" scale)

I'm only considering this construction due to the weight of it.....its macassar ebony, and the fact that I can't really think of anything else to use it for.

The tonal issue I'm pondering is that the blank is ok for the neck dimension, but too thin for a body. So I will have to do a horizontal lamination of another neck blank onto the bottom for the body portion.

So the question I'm wondering is 'will this lamination be likely to modify the ebony in terms of tone'.....given shaft wood is all important for neck-through.

Obviously this is in a bit of the 'possible wild guesswork' realm here...but I'm hoping anyone who has done multi neck through builds with different iterations of similar woods/constructions might impart some experience.
 

charisjapan

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Hey ARandall,

Zero experience, but recently did a bit of research before asking fatdaddypreacher to send me some maple and walnut for a neck-through build. (btw, nice stuff FDP!)

If I understand correctly, your piece of ebony won't reach the bottom of the body, so will laminate something on to make up the difference, right? Well, adhesives being "as strong as the wood" (often heard here) would mean that strength is not the issue, but since the "through" part of the ebony neck will be interrupted by pickup routes, there is no real benefit. How about turning said ebony vertical and laminating some contrasting wood on each side? Then it would be a true neck-through (through-neck?).

I've read with great interest many builds, and to be honest, am not sure if the tonal qualities are all that much of an issue ... but they look nice, and surely the lamination makes for a more stable neck.

Also, a chunk of ebony neck would seem to be a pretty weighty thing! :wow:

Whatever you decide, looking forward to a build thread!

Cheers,

cj
 

ARandall

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The ebony blank is 100mm wide, so there will be some wood either side of the routs (and the bridge studs.

I have very limited wood cutting availability. So I can't resaw anything. To be quite frank I'm actually hoping some of this second body wood addition will modify some of the ebony tone.....not sure if I quite want the pure ebony 'attack' tbh. The wings will be chosen for something softer/duller to try and manage this too.
 

Ph03n1x

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I am also considering a build using Tas Blackwood as the neck/centre. I also have limited tools but there is a community service called "men's sheds" here in Australia and they have some decent stuff. Will still need to buy a few tools for fretwork.

I was thinking of doing a SG shaped telecaster build as my first attempt since I wouldn't need to angle the neck. But I might just do my first idea which would be roughly based off an LP.

I would have thought neck through body is easier to do than the neck tenon join. But perhaps I am about to learn a lesson...
 

ARandall

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^ A flat join is certainly easy. My neckthrough is a tele. Not completed yet to the point of stringing it up, but the setup in terms of woodwork is similar to a bolt-on. You just have to sort out the fretboard + fret thickness vs bridge saddle height so you have the string height within a comfortable range for the bridge adjustment. and pickup mounting.

With something like a V with a TOM, that becomes harder. You either need a back angle to the neck, thicker fretboard, or a recessed TOM rout to allow for the 15mm clearance.
 

Ph03n1x

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.... You either need a back angle to the neck, thicker fretboard, or a recessed TOM rout to allow for the 15mm clearance.
Yeah, I realized the neck angle thing becomes tricky. You have to be fairly precise. The original guitar I thought about building was to be Gibson scale and neck angle but with a different body style and close to being semi hollow. Do people use little wedges to get the neck blank to go through the table saw at the right angle?
 

Skyjerk

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I like macassar for fretboards. It looks very pretty and has all the usual qualities you would expect from Ebony.

I would think its too dense and hard for a neck, though.

I made one build with a strip of honduran rosewood as the middle piece of a neck-through laminate, and it was a significant hassle carving it alongside two other strips of softer wood (mahogany in that case). Making a smooth transition between the two different density woods was a PITA because the amount of pressure needed to carve the rosewood wears into the mahogany so much faster...

Id think that macassar would be even more of a pita being harder and denser than the rosewood.
 

Bill Hicklin

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Ebony has very high internal damping; this could be a bad thing in a neck. Damping is entirely different from hardness or density; rosewood has very low damping, whereas equally dense teak damps like cardboard and is thus just about unusable as a tonewood. It is possible it will hurt your sustain, as much of the vibration transferred to the nut/frets will be 'absorbed' rather than reflected back to the body; or this could disproportionately affect only one range of frequencies giving you 'muffled' or 'dull' tone. Not to mention the overall weight issue......

Really hard, dense woods that work wonderfully in acoustic backs and sides often aren't good choices for solidbody electrics, which after all produce sound in an entirely different manner. Personally I always thought George Harrison's solid rosewood Tele sounded like crap.
 

Skyjerk

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Ebony has very high internal damping; this could be a bad thing in a neck. Damping is entirely different from hardness or density; rosewood has very low damping, whereas equally dense teak damps like cardboard and is thus just about unusable as a tonewood. It is possible it will hurt your sustain, as much of the vibration transferred to the nut/frets will be 'absorbed' rather than reflected back to the body; or this could disproportionately affect only one range of frequencies giving you 'muffled' or 'dull' tone. Not to mention the overall weight issue......

Really hard, dense woods that work wonderfully in acoustic backs and sides often aren't good choices for solidbody electrics, which after all produce sound in an entirely different manner. Personally I always thought George Harrison's solid rosewood Tele sounded like crap.
Other considerations aside, this sounds like the best reason of all not to use the ebony in the neck
 

Bill Hicklin

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That's a very nice look, and I've done the same with walnut and cherry; but that little bit of veneer is essentially cosmetic and almost irrelevant to tone, not at all like a solid neckshaft
 

Open_Book

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I know Bill,..... that thin slice just floats my boat!
 




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